Lies My Parents Told Me

Yesterday, probably for the first time in over a decade, I possessed the means by which my life could be improved without support.ย After a while all the good words, encouragement and therapy in the world is not a substitute for just getting up, looking at a problem and (however tired you might happen to be) then solving it. Sitting here now, having been up for an hour and a bit, it is apparent that the real business of living somehow got diverted through distraction and panic. Not having confidence in yourself’s a terrible thing, but pretending that’s the case is a worse crime.

Time to have a wash, clean teeth, and set to the issues at hand.

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Stopping NaNoWriMo’s absolutely the best thing that was done in the week. I don’t want to think right now about anything except rearranging my life, and that is not something that can be done over a damp November weekend. As this is long-term alteration, it’ll take a fair while, but the starting signs are very encouraging. The new phone (and liberation from iTunes/Mac tyranny) is already encouraging. However, I need to find a new home for my music, plus new interface that is acceptable.

Then there is planning what happens next: using Google as file management, clearing out old photos, rearranging music locations… and the list goes on. Most people, undoubtedly, would consider this a bit depressing and pointless, that life can be better served not worrying about such stuff. However, I need to know how it works, where everything lies, and how one is able to organise it all. That’s meat and drink to this brain. If I know how to do it, then it can be taught to others…

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Right then, better get started.

Dead Calm

RIP my Mac Mini, late year model which, after many, MANY hours of sterling service has become a rather lovely paperweight or table stand. Fortunately, there’s a replacement on the way with everything backed up. I’ve also bitten the bullet and factory reset my phone, which reminded me it is high time I sorted life out and dumped it for good. Therefore, after some faffing, I have a Huawei Mate 20 Pro coming from my mobileย  provider which is currently cheaper than my current contract.

The photographer in me will finally have a decent camera to play with.

Also, today was the day when none of the actual work I wanted to do was completed but a whole lot of other stuff was settled. It’s a fairly massive plan, which is gonna be done on as little money as possible. The final upside is that I can design my own custom-made desk. It will double my storage space here, and finally allow the background required to start doing video diaries. That’s the long term plan, but to get there first is a lot of other work.

The point however is, that after a decade, I am finally moving on from the period of my life that almost killed me.

Return to Sender

This week, things return to normal, despite the fact school does not start until a week on Thursday. I need to be back on the creation trail after time away, and there is a lot to do on that front which is already in the planning. More importantly, there will be a slew of poetry rejections next month, and that work will need to be assessed and used in a constructive fashion.

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More importantly, there are lots of projects that need to stop being dreams and become reality as we move into the Autumn.

BRB, re-organising my life.

The Fix

I already have redundancies in place to ensure this week’s efforts do not go to waste, because finally, after months of planning, everything is coming good at once. It will mean however, you’ll simply get scheduled work this week.

Everything gets back to normal once we hit September.

Thank you for your understanding.

Freedom 90

On Saturday, it became apparent that one of my vanity e-mail addresses had stopped working. There may have been some quite important email that has vanished, but I will never really know the cost, and it is far too late to worry. What this prompted was a long, hard look at what happens to my email and what is merited as ‘important’. It transpires I have ten e-mail addresses, gathered across the years. At no point have I ever deleted a message on at least three of them.

The rest of the day was spent sorting out the chaos that lack of activity had produced.

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In the end, 25,000 messages were trashed. This includes mails sent when my first ever Gmail account was created, back in 2005. The vast bulk of rubbish was acknowledgements from sites such as Twitter, or online forum which I belonged to, that simply never got dealt with at the time. It took a couple of hours, but the effort was more than worthwhile, and it allowed me to see exactly what account was getting what trash mail. The long-term benefit is that the actual volume of mail into my Mac (which collects from all the Gmail accounts and the vanity domain addresses) has been reduced by over 80%. Using the GDPR fiasco to unsubscribe from multiple newsletters and online gumph that’s no longer needed, it’s like the last thirteen years of bollocks into my Inbox never existed.

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Needless to say, it’s a little embarrassing that it took my own stupidity to kick-start the action, but now that’s done, there is no going back. The sense of satisfaction and general organisation cannot be adequately overstated, either.

Like so many things, this should have been done years ago.

Round and Round

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Last week wasn’t meant to be a line in the sand, but ended up that way regardless. It means that starting today, there needs to be an awful lot of steps and exercise to maintain momentum.

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That top number’s not accurate either, by the end of yesterday I’d managed 22k steps. Today I’m planning to walk to the Gym after lunch, do an hour of weights then come back, with an hour of cyclingย in the evening. I start with my new PT on Thursday so it would be useful to look as if there’s an effort being made before then. Most importantly of all, my arm’s now at a stage where exercise is simply an inconvenience and not either painful or an effort.

It is time to get working.

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That first week was when the old drugs were switched for new and body was just exhausted. After that, there has been a slow and steady increase in both effort and ability. I don’t think 12k steps a day is at all unrealistic. I’m not sure 23k a day is doable if there has to be work involved, but that’s a decent point to aim for. There’s half a plan to leave my car in the Gym car park after dropping off my daughter each day next week, exercising and then walking home, before coming back to pick it up for the return School Run.

I doubt anyone would notice that if I did.

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Right, I need to be exercising and now writing now.

Beautiful

This will be the third year I’ve been taken to Christmas Dinner at this particular gastropub. It used to be my local back in the early 1980’s, when I’d go to school a couple of miles down the road. Far enough off the beaten track to be worth the trip, in the days before you went to the pub for a meal. Now, it’s one of only a handful of Essex pubs that make the Good Food handbooks. The last two Christmas Meals have been impressive but this year, they excelled themselves.

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I’ve never liked ‘proper’ Christmas dinner, and knowing I have a calorie limit to deal with I decided I’d go high protein. The terrine was worth the trip alone: I know lots of you people are vegetarians (and I do go meat free now more often than I used to) but honestly, the combination of pear chutney with gamy richness was… frankly mind blowing. You got a tiny slice of sour-dough which I thought might blight enjoyment but nope, just the right amount. I’m also really glad I only drank water all night because I feel alcohol would have made me lose all the subtlety in flavour.

I’ve never eaten pheasant before and I could have eaten double of what was presented: it was served on a parsnip mash which went brilliantly with the long, elongated strip of squash and the wild mushrooms which were just… unlike anything I’d ever tasted before and all the more amazing for it. Portion wise it was practically perfect too… even though I could have done it all over again, I feel my trainer would have been happy with the balance and the fact there was no alcohol sullying the experience.

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The only issue, amazingly, was dessert. The pear tart was far too heavy, almost stodgy, cinnamon and almond completely lost in both custard and ice-cream as accompaniments (I ended up passing that onto Mr Alt.) There was none of the care or delicacy of the previous courses, and it took a lot of water and two cups of green tea to restore some sanity to my system. It reinforces the point that now I don’t eat sweet stuff nearly as much as was the case, when it is badly done those efforts become all the more jarring to the taste-buds. What I’d hoped would be refined and smart ended up as cloying and restrictive, but was fortunately not enough to destroy the brilliance of the other two courses.

Last night was also a triumph for the concept of mindful eating. I was really hungry on arrival, genuinely anticipating the food, and when it arrived there was no desire to just tear through each course or focus on the alcohol instead. Mouthfuls were appreciated, flavour and texture, the way my mind reacted to new tastes. It became as much about the process as the food itself, and a long conversation resulted on how perhaps Mr Alt and I should go out and enjoy food more than we do, as a couple. I’d really like to do that, and expand my mind more. It wouldn’t be to say I’d been to places, but instead to challenge myself to eat more than the stuff I’m used to, whilst reminding myself how lucky I am to be able to do this to begin with.

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This morning, I could do with about another six hours sleep: I have a few things left to do and then Christmas is sorted.

This is the most organised I have ever been, and it is brilliant :D